On 11 November, the British Royal Navy conducted a naval exercise in collaboration with the Egyptian Navy which ended with an amphibious landing. The exercise took place off the coast of Alexandria and saw the participation of the British amphibious ship HMS Albion (class Albion) together with the destroyer HMS Dragon (class Type 45) while on the Egyptian side the helicopter carrier ENS El Sadat (class Mistral), the frigate ENS Sharm el Sheik (class Perry) and the fast attack ship ENS Ali Gad (class Ambassador Mk.III).
The task group had to repel simulated attacks from F-16Cs of the Egyptian Air Force and from swarms of armed small boats, allowing greater cooperation and interoperability between the various systems, concluding the simulation with grounding by a joint landing force. of Royal Marines of the HMS Albion along with colleagues from the 130th Marine Amphibious Brigade of the ENS El Sadat.
The exercise is part of the Littoral Response Group which has seen since the beginning of last September simulations aimed at training and supporting allied and partner nations in the Mediterranean region involving Egypt, Tunisia, but also Black Sea nations such as Ukraine and Georgia. These operations are preparatory to the creation of synergies and development of new standardized tactics for navies and amphibious forces in order to keep them abreast of current and future challenges.
In addition, in the rounds immediately following the training in the Mediterranean, three Egyptian units: the corvette ENS El Fateh (class Gowind), the frigate ENS Alexandria (class Perry) and the fast attack ship ENS Ali Gad (class Ambassador Mk.III) headed for Novorossiysk to take part in the exercise Friendship Bridge 2020 with the units of the Voyenno-Morskoy Flot of the Black Sea Fleet. The exercise, which has been held since 2015, for the first time lands in the Black Sea and aims to further tighten military cooperation between Cairo and Moscow in common interests of maritime security and stability.
Naval maneuvers will take place from 17 to 24 November and will see 360-degree simulations from real-life fire drills against land and air targets to refueling, control of suspicious ships and rescue at sea. Already in October, when the exercise was being studied, the Egyptian military expert Maj. gen. Gamal Mazlum explained that "Egyptian forces will arrive in the Black Sea through the international transit strait of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles". "During the maneuvers, the parties will exercise joint combat tasks according to advanced combat tactics".
President al-Sisi undoubtedly hopes that these training efforts will give second thoughts to regional enemies on challenging Cairo's interests in an increasingly contested Mediterranean, a clear warning to Erdogan's increasingly troubled Turkey.
Egypt is significantly upgrading and modernizing its naval component which in the coming years will see the entry of the two frigates into the squad FREMM GP of the four frigates MEKO A-200EN, of the two remaining corvettes Gowind and the last two submarines Type 209 / 1400 thus allowing the decommissioning of older naval units that are no longer in step with the country's challenges in protecting marine resources and the transfer of know-how through the construction of some units on site.
These exercises demonstrate how Cairo pursues balanced foreign relations, especially in the defense field, by collaborating and purchasing military technology from various nations.
Images: Royal Navy / MoD Russian Fed